FBM KLCI down 28.59 points as Malaysia policies, US-China trade take centre stage

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KUALA LUMPUR (May 24): The FBM KLCI fell 28.59 points or 1.6% as foreign selling of Malaysian shares persisted and investors evaluated the new Malaysian Government's policies.

The evaluation has led to expectations that credit rating agencies may revise their ratings for the country amid concerns on the nation's debt management.  

Malaysian shares could have also taken cue from the US' national security investigation into car and truck imports. Reuters reported that Asian shares fell on Thursday after the US government launched a national security probe into car imports that could lead to new tariffs, and President Donald Trump's comments suggested setbacks in US-China trade talks.

At Bursa Malaysia, the KLCI closed at 1,775.66 points on losses in KLCI-linked stocks including Malayan Banking Bhd and Public Bank Bhd.

On the KLCI, TA Securities Holdings Bhd senior technical analyst Stephen Soo said TA expects the market downturn to be a short-term event.

“Stocks wise, the telcos, banks and utilities have been pulling down the index (KLCI). It will take a while for the market to stabilise as investors will be monitoring policies that are being announced (by the new government).
“The market is currently enduring short-term pain, but it is a necessary pain to endure for the longer term greater good,” Soo told theedgemarkets.com.

Across Bursa Malaysia, 2.87 billion shares worth RM3.86 billion were traded. The small-cap index fell 148.53 points or 1.03% to close at 14,312.09 points.

Malaysian shares fell with Asian stock markets. Japan’s Nikkei 225 was down 1.11%, South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.24% while China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite dropped 0.45%.

Reuters quoted Shane Oliver, chief economist and head of investment strategy at AMP Capital as saying in Sydney: "There's a lot of noise around Donald Trump, China-US trade, the auto imports now, and then the Korean summit, and all these things are just weighing on investors at the moment.

"I think we probably would have seen a decent day in Asian markets were it not for these ongoing geopolitical worries because the minutes from the Fed's last meeting were relatively benign."